It’s time to start looking ahead to the 2013 fantasy baseball season. With that in mind, this column will hope to shine a light on players who are noticeably affected by OPS:
Allen Craig – Oh hey, nice to meet you, this year’s Jacoby Ellsbury. Excuse my rant, but I am stunned how high Craig is getting drafted this year. He currently has an average draft position of 39! ESPN and other sites aren’t ranking him that far behind, so it’s very possible he is long gone in most drafts by pick 60. I think this is a big mistake, and one that reminds me of last year’s Ellsbury. The similarities are there: a player with an injury history coming off of a great year. Although with Craig, he’s never even played a full season in the majors. This is a case where people are paying for last season and expecting to be able to prorate last year’s numbers over a full season, both of which are approaches that I don’t endorse.
Now, it’s not that I don’t like Craig. I’ll admit that when I wrote about him last season I thought he would be valuable as long as he stayed healthy. In 2012 he was valuable and hit a nice .307/.354/.522 line across 119 games. I’m expecting him to have a slight drop off, though I don’t think he will completely collapse, unless injuries really derail him. For 2013, I could see him playing in 125 games, with something like a .300/.350/.500 line. That’s still a solid hitter, but is not close to returning the value for where he’s being drafted. Especially when there’s another hitter who will be drafted significantly later that I expect to produce a similar line across the same number of games…
Corey Hart – If you scrolled down early or if you already read the above and somehow didn’t see the name at the beginning of this paragraph, I’m referring to Corey Hart. Surprised? Disgusted? Hear me out on this one. This month it was revealed that Hart will likely undergo surgery on his right knee and miss 4-6 weeks of the season. So, assuming he does not suffer any significant setbacks, he should play in something like 125 games. Last year, his .270/.334/.507 line fit right in with his career average. He’s been a very consistent player over the past couple years and I believe that he will produce similar numbers going forward. He could reasonably post a .280/.340/.500 line in 2013. See where I’m going with this? Additionally I’m expecting his average draft position to plummet over the next several weeks, potentially to the point where he is all but forgotten. Yes, it might be a pain to stash somebody on your DL, but in roto leagues it doesn’t matter too much when you get the production, so long as it’s there. All told, I think it will be well worth your investment to grab Hart and to have near Allen Craig production for a late round pick.